CELEBRATE 92!

Sunday afternoon a swarm of folks descended upon the quiet home of Clyde Townsend.  He was about to have a surprise party to celebrate his 92nd year of life!  People kept coming and he got happier and happier!  And, so we celebrated and honored this patriarch of our family.  He has guided us, supported us, corrected us, and loved us for our lifetimes.  We love him dearly.

 

 

 

Alex was unable to attend, but sent his well wishes.

 

 

A sweet day to make memories.  God has blessed us mightily with our Pop…aka Papa, Papa Clyde, Mr. Clyde, Mr. Townsend….but most of all…Daddy.

 

BOOGALOO CAMP 2018

We wait all year for this one week, my family and I.  Well, at least the girls and the little boys!  All year, I plan for new and exciting projects I will share with the boys.  John Thomas and Levi both love art and creating, so that fits right in with my plan.  We usually have a theme and go somewhere exciting and fun…just a little day trip from PCB.  This year, the plans were discussed.  The plans were confirmed.  The dates were set.  But, alas…the best laid plans often sail off into never never land and the best you can do is just wing it.  And, that’s what we did at Boogaloo Camp 2018.

Fortunately the boys got in a little swimming time on Friday, before the clouds decided to turn a permanent shade of gray!

The day was beautiful and Lori, Tara and Suzanne soaked up as much sun as they could on our beautiful Laguna Beach.

 

We decided we needed an excellent meal to start the camp off right, so off we went to Uncle Ernie’s!  Ate out on the covered deck and watched the sun set.  The food was delicious, and we all enjoyed a walk around the marina before the darkness settled in.

Back to the Sandcastle to rest and relax and have some fun together…or alone…

After a good night’s sleep, the girls and the boys headed out for some shopping.  They were planning to go and return before the rain.  Again…that’s what ya get for making plans…

A little bit of wetness didn’t slow them down…it just added to the fun!  The boys thought it great fun to go schlepping around in the rain!

They did manage to do some minor damage to their wallets before they headed back!

This pic below is not very clear, but I add it for posterity’s sake.  Here’s a little of the ‘boogying’ we do at Boogaloo Camp!

Because our big plans were to take a boat out to Shell Island for a picnic…we tried to salvage at least part of the plan…the picnic part.  I put the boys in total charge of the planning, making, gathering and packing of the picnic.  Here is the list…by their minds and hands.

Since they decided on cookies, they had to prepare them.  And, make the sandwiches, with a little supervision.

They gathered all the things on their list…and packed the cooler…and then this happened…

Joy and I were to meet them and go to the park for our picnic.  But the minute we got on the road…the rain started falling so hard we literally could not see the cars in front of us!  So, I turned the car around, and we went back to the house.  We took our picnic blankets and spread them across the floor.   Then, set out pillows…lit candles…spread some shells and sea creatures around…and called it a picnic!  The boys served us and cleaned up.  Not exactly the fun we had hoped for…but a memory made, nonetheless!

Because of this…

…we decided the smartest thing to do was to head to Dothan on Sunday.  As everyone was washing sheets and towels…the boys and I got in a little crafting time.

Our little boys are growing up…going into second and third grade next year…silly boys!

And, so by noon, we were all loaded, floors swept, doors locked, and ready to get to higher ground.  The boys were a little sad, so much of our big plans were cancelled.  But, we prayed together before we left and thanked God for the rain.  We decided that if He wanted us to be back in Dothan, that’s where we should be.  After all, His plans are always perfect.

The storm, Alberto, actually made landfall on our little stretch of beach, Laguna Beach.  Our houses are about 2 blocks away.  We made the right decision to vacate the area.

However, the boys did make us promise that before the summer was out and school started back…we would have Boogaloo Camp 2018…Part 2!  And, Lord willing…we will!

THE OWENS FAMILY CHRISTMAS…2017

This year’s mantel…

 

Levi’s tree…all vehicles carrying trees on top.  We started this collection the year he was born and love adding to it every year!

 

 

A few days before Christmas, John Thomas and Levi and I had a craft day.  We decorated cookies, painted trees, made ornaments, and ate lots of decorated cookies!

 

 

 

 

As soon as the tree went up, Levi put his nativity scene in place…

 

Christmas Eve, lunch after church.

 

At Church, Christmas Eve

 

 

Making that important visit…

 

5 teeth gone…

 

Christmas Day started with a gourmet breakfast by none other than Chef Ian.  OH! MY!  So yummy!

The Owens Family…

Don and Pop…

My sweet sister…and her sweet sister…

My children and my Pop…

 

Alex and Ian…

My sweet daughter in love…

Joy and her boys…

Lori and I…

Adam, Suzanne, Levi…

 

 

My eldest, Adam…

 

A gift to all, Alex celebrated the day with us…

Pop telling Alex something important….

Alex and Pop…

Someone’s getting a little tired…

Don’t know what they are looking at, but it sure has their attention…

Lori and Joy…

Joy and Tommy…

Tommy and Don…

Lulu and Levi…

Love comes in many forms…

Taking it all in…

Lori and Ian…eating buddies!

Though unable to be with us (John Thomas had the flu)…Will and Tara celebrated, too…Sure missed them!

 

Pop, Joy and Tonja…

Don and his boys…

Closing up the Nativity…He said it was time for them to rest…

Beautiful Nativity from Europe gifted by Joy and Tommy…

Our sweet Levi…

The sweet memories we make linger in our hearts long after December 25 is past.  We are blessed in so many ways.  Even though we could not all be together on Christmas Day…we were together in heart.  I thank God for his mercy and grace and for every good gift he sends our way!

To my dear Mom, who celebrates Christmas in Heaven now, I missed you today as much as on the first Christmas without you.  Your touch resonates in our hearts and souls.  You are forever in our hearts.

SQUIRRELS and BATS

Squirrels and bats…bats and squirrels…anyway you say it its just not a pleasing combination.  Now, squirrels, I have watched playfully running and jumping from tree to tree, scurrying round the tree trunk chasing a friend….even trying to figure out my bird feeder…unsuccessfully, I may add. They can be amusing.  Dogs like them…and so do little boys.  Then there are bats…bats….NO,  there is nothing I can say good about them…except they dine on mosquitos!  And, that one took his dying breath along side my driveway a year or so back…and Levi was able to see what a bat looked like up close.  No, we didn’t touch it!

Several, SEVERAL, months back, I heard running over my head.  Tiny little steps.  I thought they were on the roof.  They were not.  They got louder and louder. At odd times during the day, I would hear them.  Still not knowing they were inside.  Scratching…by tiny little claws…close to me, but hidden.  And, it was then I realized there was not an attic separating them from me…there was only a ceiling between us.  Scratching the floor…you know how a dog will find something in the grass and he will scratch  really fast for a few seconds then stop and sniff…then scratch again.  Like that.  It was freaky. I would hit the ceiling where they were…which was around my dining table…and they stopped.  I went back to bed after closing all the air vents in my bedroom…just in case one of them tried to gain access.  I told Don when he got home and he said he “never heard them so it must not be true…I was hearing things.” !!??!!!?  And, for sure…sometimes I wander over to the crazy side for a visit…but I wasn’t visiting when I heard this.  A few more nights, I’d hear the same thing.  He was never around when it happened.  Then I heard thumping.  What could they be doing?  Do squirrels thump their tails or something?  Or were they engaged in frisky play that would result in a litter of little squirrels doing their homework in my attic?  This happened over and over for months!

I fussed….I fumed…I complained….I even nagged…it’s possible I did even worse, too.  I wanted them out.  And, today was not soon enough.  Yesterday was better, but it was gone and that made me madder!

Finally, he called a man with a catchy name who came out and checked into it for us.  He gave us definitive news.  We had squirrels in our attic and a nice community of bats, as well.  Living peaceably together in MY attic.  “Get them out!”  says I.  He responds that he can surely get them out….the ones he can find.  But, he finishes with the statement that there is nothing he can do to KEEP them out.   That’s not his job.  He’ll GET them out…but that’s the extent of it.  Then if their grandma and fourteen second cousins come back the next night…he would have to come back.  And, then he reminded us of this archaic law of the land.  IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO KILL BATS.  Did you know that?  Well it is.  So to get them out, he would have to lure them out of a device and then fix said device so they could not get back in.   But, that still was not his job.  We were on our own.  This nice man did get a 4 foot rattlesnake out of my garage once.  But when I told him recently that my yard person saw 3 Copperheads under the wooden shed in the backyard, he did not offer to come and rescue me once again.  But, he said, if they were able to make it up onto the porch or into the garage..call him!  THAT’s his job!

There is not someone here in our town that will get monsters out of the attic and prevent them from returning.  No one in our fair city offers this service.  So Don found a company out of Marietta, Georgia that does this very thing…gets ’em out and keeps ’em out.  And, they happen to have a man stationed in Panama City, FL.

The Bat Man comes to our house and makes the acquaintance of all those residing upstairs.  Then he shows us where they are entering and leaving.  The bats in one place…the squirrels another.  They have managed to hone in on a wonderful setup…if you are a bat or a squirrel.  We have those louvered vents all along the house and they are made of metal.  So the trap he has will not work.  He has to rig up something to get them out…and then cover all the louvers.  Because he cannot break the law and kill them.   Then he will clean the attic and fumigate.  And all will be well.  He worked for 2 weeks.  He set traps for the squirrels that I could hear snapping shut during the night!  To trap the bats he made traps that looked like big black garbage bag flags flying from all the vents of my house.  So classy!

The squirrel family…the wayward brother…always bringing girls home with him…creep4

The Mom who was the lookout in case the bats crossed the line…

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The Head of the Crime Syndicate…Mr.. Whiskers…

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And, Bob, the playful sibling…..

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These were the only ones I could capture on camera…

And here are the Bats….Dad…keeping the whole house under observation…

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The 3 worthless brothers who just ‘hung around’ all day…

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And, the babies, they tucked in gently every night while they all left to frolic in the moonlight!

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Finally, we were told all the bats were out and cleaning would commence…followed by disinfection.  The cleaning out, I did not see..but after the disinfection…I had to leave town.  It was chemical laden and drifted down into the people part of the house.  It actually made me physically sick.  Thank goodness I had a little cottage at the beach to hold up in for a few days.  And, I did.  With my sister.  It was nice.  However the television was not working so we had to entertain each other with singing and dancing and skits and plays. I prefer TV.  But I digress.

I came home and the smell was still there.  But different…actually, it was worse…lots worse.  The Bat Man came back…said a couple of the brothers had hidden out under the insulation and he had to take care of that.  He did.  I had a day or two of peace.  Then Don had to leave on a trip last Thursday.  By Saturday… that most awful smell was back in my house…again it made me physically ill.  Don walked in from his trip and caught a whiff!  He called the Bat Man before he even put his suitcase away.  He came the next day.  3 squirrels and 1 bat, had been trapped inside, but had succumbed to the elements and chose the attic as their final resting place.  Not fine with me.  He got them out…I lit every candle I had.   By morning all evidence of death was erased.  Gotta buy some more candles!

And, now its been a week.  If I hear a limb or a pinecone hit the roof…I go into panic mode.  But, so far, so good.  After I picked up all the scrap metal netting and screws out of the yards and out of the pool…hopefully all traces of this horrid event will fade from my memory.

But, remember  year or so back when the chimney sweeps (little birds) got into my fireplaces and laid nests?  You may not, but I distinctly remember them because they would chose 2 o’clock in the morning to teach their little ones to sing. Their chirping sounding like squawks.  It echoed and reverberated throughout the house.  It was spooky. We told them to leave and made lots of noise.  We watched a lot of them fly out.  We gave them plenty of warnings.  And then lit a fire.  They didn’t comeback.  But, wire netting is covering all the chimneys now, too…just in case!

Stay away, critters.  We do not deal nicely with unwelcomed guests!

And I betcha Don believes me next time I hear something in the attic!  If he doesn’t, I have The Bat Man on speed dial!

 

BOOGALOO CAMP… 2017

 

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And…once again   Boogaloo Camp is history… for this year.  Oh, but the memories will keep us happy until it’s time to do it again!

***Lots of pics here, but it’s all about the documentation***

Joy and I arrived at The Sandcastle on Monday and spent two days watching the rain pour and pour and pour!  Which wasn’t too bad.  Gave us a great chance to catch up and just spend time together.  We did manage to get to the grocery store.  I had chicken salad to make…which is a tradition at BC….and Joy wanted Potato Salad, too…so we did that, too!  The girls and boys arrived on Wednesday!  Fun was just waiting to happen.

We started off with me explaining to the boys what a Scavenger Hunt was.  And, then I gave them a list of things to be looking for all week…such as a red straw, a throw away cup with writing, a rectangle shaped napkin, a smooth rock, a lea with two colors, a ticket stub, etc.  They did great. They stayed busy everywhere we went looking for those 12 items!

Another continuing project we did was weaving.  I tore up an old canvas and used just the frame.  We tied jute on tip and bottom .  Then we learned about weaving…under, over, under, over….then over, under, over, under.  They caught on pretty quickly.  We even used some palm fronds and drift wood and finished off by tying on some shells they found with holes in them!

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That tropical storm didn’t bother us…we saw a break in the weather and made a beeline for the Panama City Beach Pier!  One of our little campers wasn’t sure if it would be sturdy enough for us to walk on, but soon those fears gave way to fun!  This was probably not the best time to go walking on a pier.  Winds, we found out later were at 40-45 mph!  We were blown sideways by that mighty wind!  The boys had a ball!  But, us girls, had mighty tangles in our hair!  Oh my!

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We stopped at a restaurant just outside the pier, Hook’d, and had delicious fish tacos!  The rain held off, but the wind continued to blow!

Up early the next morning and an art project to start.  We tried to do tie dye last year, but, ran out of time.  But, we got it in this year!  The boys designed their own shirts.  They decided on the design they wanted and picked their own colors.  Us girls all made us one, too.  We had to let them set overnight…so we began another project…String Art.  We had previously hammered nails into a circle on a slab of wood.  The boys then used all different color string to wrap the nails and come up with their version of a beach ball!  Looks pretty good!

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And, here’s how the shirt making turned out…

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We took a little trip over to Destin, because I wanted the boys to  experience the fun of eating at LuLu’s.  (In case you don’t know, this is a restaurant owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister.  It’s on the water, and all open air.  Their is a big sandy playground for the children complete with water play, and bungee jumping .  The boys loved it!  We all did, actually!

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We stopped and did some very minor shopping…you know…two little boys…not what they wanted to do…whines and “let’s go!”.  Back home the girls took the boys for a walk out on the beach…almost dark.

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Then they stopped for ice cream.  Joy and I stayed home and rested!

Bright and early the next morning…we started another art project…this time we made candles.  We decided on color…and scent…and containers.  John Thomas was the instigator of this fun idea!  The boys were amazed that they could actually make their own candles.   They measured and leveled, added wicks, and leveled again!   And, boy did they ever smell good.

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The sun was out in full force and it would have been terrible not to have enjoyed some sunshine and swimming!  So off we went to the PC Water Park…which has a wonderful facility for younger children!  It’s the boy’s favorite place to go.  We spent several hours there.  And, SURPRISE !!!!…our Lori showed up!  We had missed her, but her work wouldn’t allow her to be with us all week.  But, there were 2 happy boys when she showed up!  She lightens up all our lives!

And, after showers, we all went out to BoonDocks for a delicious meal!

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And with that, we had to begin gathering up supplies…cleaning up…

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…and preparing to leave the next morning!

A FEW MORE PICS…

The boys had a pillow to color and went about their work diligently.

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Levi made a very interesting color choice on his and I complimented him and said, “Levi, I like how you are using your artistic eye!”  He turned and look at me…did this…

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and said, “Actually, Lulu, I have 2 artistic eyes, don’t you know!”  So you do, my Little Man…so you do!

I taught them to play Old Maid…that was lots of fun!

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John Thomas looking cute in his new outfit…

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I bought the boys some cute shorts and painted them a shirt to match…

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Another fun project was a little tedious…on my part.  I made pics of the boys in the same location.  We then had them printed.  I taped the picture to a stack of 6 square Duplo Blocks, then carefully cut apart the picture between each block with an exacto knife.  Then I handed the boys a jumble of pieces and they had to put themselves and their cousin together.  Then is was so funny to put the wrong legs or the wrong arms on the other person!  Picture Blocks!

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They each have a set, and can take each other home and play together whenever they like!  We used one rectangular block on the bottom so they would stand side by side.

John Thomas designed, painted and lettered the Boogaloo Camp sign at top of this post!

PaPa Clyde…we were thinking of you while we were gone…

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Scavenger Hunt went well…they found all on their list and both won prizes!

And, of course, Thomas’ Doughnuts was visited quite often!  

I could go on and on here about the blessings we have and the memories we made on this trip!  But, I’m going to leave it here with just this thought.  Every good thing…every happy thought…every burst of laughter…every sweet hug…every goodnight kiss…and every Good Morning…is a gift from Almighty God.  He causes His favor to rest on us all.  He gives us more than we deserve.  He sends His love to us in so many ways.  I praise Him and honor Him and thank Him for this beautiful week!

“It is God who has given us these times of joy.”  Psalms 81:4

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READY, FREDDY?

“Ready, Freddy?”  “Ready, Betty!”

Levi and I have used these code words since he could buckle his carseat by himself.  It let me know that he was buckled in and ready to ride.  (Course I always double check first.)  He used to think it was so funny.  When he was first learning about rhyming words…we would continue…“Where’s Eddie?”   “Have you seen Letty?”  “I’m feeling sweaty.”  “I want spaghetti.”  And on it would go until something else caught his attention.

Yesterday…4/12/17…after school pickup…

“Ready, Freddy?”  No answer.

“Ready, Freddy?”  Still no answer.

“Levi, are you buckled up and ready to go.”  “I am.”

“Well, why didn’t you answer me?”

“Lulu,…… I just didn’t want to say it.”

“Why not?”

“Well, Lulu…it sounds a little silly to me.  And I am in kindergarten now, you know?”

“Oh, so you think you are too old to play this game anymore?  It always makes me smile when we say it.”

“Don’t be sad, Lulu, I just think I’m too big now to say that.  Can we just not do that anymore?”

“Well, of course, Little Man.  I understand.  When you grow up, some things you thought were funny one time…just seem silly now.  So we don’t have to say that anymore.”

“Will you be sad, Lulu?”

“Of course not!  You can always tell me if you prefer not to do something.  Maybe I’ll agree.  Maybe I won’t.  But, you can be honest with me always.”

“I love you, Lulu!”

“And, I adore you, Levi!  Now are you ready to go!”

“Yes, m’am.  I am!”

And then we both started laughing again…his attempt at becoming grown up had led him to make another rhyming answer!

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He understood the irony of that without me saying anything….another sign of maturing and growing.  I can say I’m sad to see it happen, but that’s not really the truth.  The truth is I will forever miss these little jokes we have had between ourselves.  But, I want him to grow and explore and change.  This is what he was born for…to become a man.  And, even though he has lots of growing left to do…now that he’s 6…some things will be forever different.  As he begins first grade, he will see this world with such different eyes.  My prayer is that God gives him a mind that delights in new information….that he will always nurture his creative side…and that his goal will always be to be more like Jesus everyday!  And, that he can always laugh with his Lulu!

He’s ready, Freddy!

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